Updated: Mar 13
Following days of gales (see Guilhem's post about the Lundy trip which seriously tested everyone's sea legs) the weather had calmed down and the sun reappeared to a degree which can only be described as subtropical . So it was with high expectations that our party of George, John B, Gemma, Matt R and myself launched the RIB from Ferrybridge on Saturday 16th.
8 NM route to drop point on Lulworth Banks.
First dive was a planned drift dive on Lulworth Banks (8 NM from Ferrybridge) with John B coxing. George and Gemma, as buddy pair 1, got dropped first but unfortunately slightly off the intended 14-15m depth point. But reportedly theydid enjoy the sandy bottom in the middle of the Banks. Somebody (me) owes someone a beer.... Having adjusted the drop point Matt and I, as buddy pair 2, rolled off the RIB and descended to what can best be described as a carpet of scallops. This was Matt's first drift dive and we took the necessary time to deploy the DSMB, get torches at the ready etc.
No sooner had we started to flow with the west going tidal stream before tiger scallops everywhere in our path started 'jumping' (actually swimming) from the bottom like they were making a bid for the surface. Most entertaining. The next good half hour provided an enjoyable drift over the Banks with granite structures, ledges etc and with lots of marine fauna and flora.
A highlight was our impromptu staging of a marine life 'rescue' operation: we had spotted a creel-shaped lobster pot which had become detached from its buoy line. Trapped in it was a small lobster and three edible crabs, two of which were massive. Luckily Matt had brought his line cutter scissors and went to work like a surgeon inside the pot. We literally let lunch walk away.
After lunch (no crab, just battery chicken) back at Castletown we treated ourselves to a bonus dive on the Countess of Erne. Viz on the wreck was surprisingly better than average. This is the second time in succession I have had good luck on the Countess. My theory is that after Guilhem joined RSAC and we upgraded the Countess's aristocratic rank to La Duchesse the viz has improved dramatically....
A big thank you goes to George and John B for taking turns driving the boat.
Creel-shaped lobster pot.